Thursday, March 24, 2016

Day 5: Montgomery, Alabama

We woke up to a beautiful day in Montgomery, Alabama. We started off our day visiting the capital building.  After touring the capital building, the U of I Civil Rights Pilgrimage had a performance today at the Dexter Avenue Baptist  Church. This was the church where Dr.King served as a pastor for six years.  And before we began our tour, our tour guide had us sing the song "This little light of mine." It was a lot of fun to sing together and it definitely perked us all up! At the church we were able to see Dr. King's office and look at the mural that was painted in the church. 

Once we left the church, we had lunch and then proceeded to the Freedom Rides Museum. At this musuem we learned more about the Freedom Rides Movement. This was a movement created in order to integrate the bus stations in the south. So what the freedom riders set out to do was to travel deep into southern states and attempt to integrate both African Americans with Caucasians. What I found most interesting was that students from the University of Tennessee continued the Freedom Rides Movements! At one point, the freedom riders decided to not continue any further so that is when the students stepped in to continue the trip. I also learned that the state governor of Alabama refused to listen to the president's order of sending troops to protect the freedom riders. Our tour guide told us that the Caucasians had a 15 minute grace period in which the can attack and beat the riders. It was only after 15 minutes when the police officers and troops would come. 

After the Freedom Rides Museum, we headed to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). At the SPLC, we watched a video about victims of the Civil Rights Movement. On how these individuals had their lives taken and how we should remember them because their deaths contributed in the movement. Once the movie finished, we had a small discussion with our tour guide where we discussed about some injustices that occur today. Something that I liked about this musuem was that they had this Wall of Tolerance. And visitors would take the pledge to stand against hate, injustice and intolerance. All of us took that pledge and our names were added onto the Wall of Tolerance. I am very positive that all of us are going to live up to that pledge and make a difference in the future!

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